Irish & U.S. activists announce major St. Patrick’s Day Rally & Concert in New York City
As the Irish Prime Minister (Taoiseach) prepares to present Donald Trump with a bowl of shamrocks in the White House on St. Patrick’s Day March 17th, a group of Irish and U.S. activists and artists have announced a major rally and concert in New York to take place on the same evening.
The ‘Irish Stand’ event aims to be a ‘global call for justice and equality’ and will take place in the famous 2500 seat Riverside church in Manhattan, an iconic venue steeped in a rich social justice legacy where Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela have given famous addresses.
Irish Stand has been initiated by Irish Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin alongside artists and activists that include New York based Irish playwright and Waking the Feminists organizer Lisa Tierney Keogh, Presidential appointee to Ireland's Council of State Ruairí McKiernan, and community groups in New York.
The event will feature contributions from New York based Irish author and National Book Award recipient Colum McCann, comedian and host of the 'Maeve in America' podcast Maeve Higgins, prominent U.S. writer and activist Shaun King. West Wing actor Richard Schiff among others. Other high profile musicians and speakers will be announced in the lead up to the event. Special efforts are being made to involve representatives from communities adversely affected by racism and prejudice.
Organizers say the event is inspired by the Irish experience of oppression and forced emigration and aims to send a message of unity at a time of much fear and division in the world. It is also hoped that others will take up the call and host St. Patrick’s Day Irish Stand style events in Ireland and in cities throughout the world.
Senator Aodhán Ó Riordain, whose Senate speech about President Trump went viral internationally with over 40 million views, said he feels it has never been more important to make a stand and speak out.
“Many of the struggles that Martin Luther King campaigned on are sadly the same struggles people face today. We are witnessing attacks on workers, on the environment and on vulnerable communities, especially migrants and immigrants. It is so important that we don’t sit back in silence. I’m glad to say the support we’re receiving is overwhelming. Our hope is to send a clear message out that Irish people stand in unity with people of different races in calling for justice and equality in the U.S., Ireland and around the world.”
Actor Richard Schiff, who played Toby in the West Wing, says the U.S. is facing major challenges and the Irish Stand event is important;
“We are facing an unprecedented challenge to our democracy for the first time in my lifetime. And a challenge to our basic freedoms and rights delineated so profoundly in our constitution. That there is a spontaneous combustion of protest and resistance around the world is as remarkable as it is necessary. My wife is Irish American. I know first hand that the Irish don't stay silent when they are wronged or see an injustice perpetrated anywhere. I stand with the Irish on St Patrick's day inspired by their voices and passion for justice."
More information www.irishstand.org | @irishstand on twitter